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Rush - 1977 A Farewell To Kings

ALBUM: A Farewell To Kings

SERIAL: SRM-1-1184
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1997, Anthem (Canada), ANMD 1079 * 1997, Mercury (USA), 314 534 628-2, remastered


LINEUP: Geddy Lee - vocals, bass, keyboards, taurus pedals * Alex Lifeson - guitars * Neil Peart - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 A Farewell To Kings * 02 Xanadu * 03 Closer To The Heart * 04 Cinderella Man * 05 Madrigal * 06 Cygnus X-1


This is a very early look at Canadian legends Rush, as part of their evolutionary phase. As many of you will know, this band's formative period invoked much ado about Led Zeppelin. They picked up a lot of acclaim with their sci-fi oriented epic '2112' released a year prior to this one. That album bought about a number of changes from those prior three albums, not the least being their songwriting prowess, and the ability to play with sonic intensity. With 'A Farewell To Kings', we see another evolution, in the writing of carefully crafted pieces with layers and dynamics. For me, this was my first real exposure to the band, and upon hearing their earlier works ('2112' included), this is where it all starts for me.

The Songs
An album with only six songs! In 1977 it was easy to get away with, perhaps less so with the 21st century CD buyers. But all six remain tried and true tested Rush favourites. The album remains an important watering hole along the Rush highway. There are plenty of classical reference points on the opener, the title track 'A Farewell To Kings'. A track populated with both acoustic and electric guitar, and broken up into sections that exhibit tempo changes. The album's supreme moment is the 11 minute wonder of 'Xanadu'. When asked what is the definitive Rush track by many fans, 'Xanadu' always features prominently. Rush' first attempt at commercial music appears with 'Closer To The Heart' - a brief three minute excursion with a 'made for radio' sound. 'Cinderella Man' is another that is quite radio-friendly, with a load of acoustic guitar and vocal melody. The shortlived 'Madigral' is the pre-cursor to the electric bombast of 'Cygnus X-1' - another stellar track which could quite easily make the top ten Rush tracks of all time. It's a musical explosion really.. with all three members hardwired at the neural core. Time changes galore, three principal sections with an ebb and flow feel, with the final section being a sonic assault on the senses. Aah.. Rush at their best..

In Summary
A great album, and one that sits happily in my collection. From this album through the next 'Hemispheres', Rush continued this theme laden approach until they changed direction again for 1980's fantastic 'Permanent Waves', and onward into the 80's with a string of excellent releases. 'A Farewell To Kings' might sound dated by todays comparison, but I'm sure many of you won't mind pigging out on honeydew or getting drunk on the milk of paradise - when listening to this 1977 classic..

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#1 | sabace on December 24 2007 16:13:10
#2 | richardb on June 03 2008 13:43:30
My favourite Rush album and like you George my first real exposure to the band. I seem to recall a lot of contreversy when they toured the UK in 1977 being branded 'fascists' (!).

The media got hot under the collar over the lyrical content of 'Closer to the heart' and the fact that Peart (I think) cited Ayn Rand as an influence..

Richard B
#3 | reyno-roxx on April 05 2010 13:27:15
'Xanadu' still sends shivers up the spine every time. Glorious!

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